Festival focuses on fire safety | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Festival focuses on fire safety

Twelve years ago, when Fire Fest was born at the Crescent V shopping center parking lot, it didn’t have much to offer children. Now the festival attracts thousands of visitors, dozens of safety agencies and even clowns.

Fire Fest is a one-day, five-hour event filled with educational and entertaining activities, as well as hot dogs and hamburgers, starting at 10 a.m. Saturday at South Tahoe Middle School.

Paul Tyler, the fire prevention officer for the U.S. Forest Service and co-chairman of the festival, said the purpose of the fair is to teach children about fire safety. To reach the goal, Fire Fest will have fire engines for children to sit in, fire hoses to squirt and a trailer with non-toxic smoke that teaches children how to prevent and escape a fire.

There will be a CHP seat belt demonstration that uses mannequins inside a stripped car that will be turned like a rotisserie chicken. In addition, police and sheriff K-9 dogs will “chase down the bad guy” in demonstrations.

“We decided to have a carnival-type atmosphere,” said Tyler, a gruff but genial wildland fire expert. “We include the kids with more hands-on activities. If you look at the statistics over the last 12 years we’ve been putting this on, kids lighting fires with matches have decreased. Just having kids thinking about fire prevention is great.”

Free smoke detectors will be handed out, with batteries, to people in need of the device. For people who cannot attend, Tyler advised them to go to a fire station. Fire officials can go to the house and find the best location for the smoke alarm.

“There is no reason why residents in the basin shouldn’t have a smoke detector,” said Tyler,

Jeanne Lear from South Tahoe Refuse, a sponsor of the event, said planners have met about 10 times this year to make sure Fire Fest is a success. South Tahoe Refuse will provide information on recycling.

Tyler said the basin’s fire danger will continue until significant snow. South Lake Tahoe just passed an ordinance banning campfires outside designated areas.

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